Litigation: Vaginal Mesh Status Conference May 2012

Jane Akre
May 28, 2012

May 27, 2012 ~ The Honorable Judge Joseph R. Goodwin is overseeing all four vaginal mesh MDLs (multidistrict litigation) in his U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. A status conference was held Thursday, May 24, 2012, in the U.S. Courthouse in Charleston, West Virginia to coordinate the discovery process and set deadlines for all four federal pelvic mesh lawsuits before the court.

The Defendants include C.R. Bard, Inc., (MDL No. 2187); American Medical Systems Inc., MDL No. 2325); Boston Scientific Corp., (MDL No. 2326); and Ethicon, Inc. (MDL No. 2327).

The first Bard Avaulta transvaginal mesh trial, (called a bellwether) is set for February 5, 2013 and will be the first of about 600 cases filed concerning Bard’s Avaulta mesh alleging it caused organ damage, among other injuries. With the potential of thousands of pages of pretrial information, Judge Goodwin must coordinate the pretrial information exchange between both sides and determine deadlines for completion.

Background on the bellwether trial here.


All of the cases filed in federal courts around the country were consolidated for discovery purposes. Discovery allows both sides to see the documents and take depositions from the key players who may be called at trial. The bellwether will put forth the best arguments and serve as an indicator of whether the arguments will be successful or not before a jury.

The advantage of the consolidated court is that there will be one ruling from Judge Goodwin, not 50 different rulings from courts around the country.

Bard is based in Murray Hill, New Jersey. Cases against Bard are also pending in state courts around the country. Bard is the same company responsible for the Kugel mesh which caused harm and deaths in hernia patients. Kugel was recalled, only to be redesigned and put back on the market.

Product Liability

Plaintiffs, who may eventually number in the thousands, allege that the four manufacturers sold defective synthetic vaginal mesh products used in women as a treatment for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI).

Defective products can be based on negligence (carelessness), a breach of warranty, and strict liability, which is a wrongful act where the defendant is held responsible for the injury to the plaintiff.

A plaintiff must have suffered injury in order to be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss or consortium, and other injuries.

If there is not a resolution offered by the mesh maker, the cases can be transferred back to their original courts to be tried as an individual case.

FDA Warning

In July 2011, the FDA concluded that the use of mesh may not justify the risk, yet that has not stopped the use of mesh to treat POP and SUI in about 75,000 women every year.

In January, the FDA ordered Bard, as well as J & J and 31 other manufacturers to conduct post-market studies on the rates of complications and organ damage among those women who have had the medical devices implanted.

The first trial is set for November 5, 2012 in state court in Atlantic City, New Jersey and is overseen by Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee. J & J’s Ethicon unit, maker of the Gynecare Prolift vaginal mesh, is the defendant.

Plaintiffs can still join the multidistrict litigation and are not restricted to finding representation only in their immediate area since these actions are filed in federal court. #

Learn More:

Bloomberg on Bard cases set

C.R. Bard on mesh placement- Animation

Cornell law on Products Liability

Gynecare Counsel list Nov. 1, 2011

Bard Company History

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